Laia Sanz – Repsol Montesa sent a clear message to her rivals at the opening round of the 2011 FIM Women's Trial World Championship by taking an impressive victory in Grossheubach, Germany. In a Trial where changing weather conditions turned out to play a key role in the final podium positions, British riders Emma Bristow – Ossa and Rebekah Cook – Sherco joined Sanz on the rostrum in second and third places respectively.
Right from the very first section twenty-five year old Sanz looked nothing less than confident and composed. Despite the fact that the event commenced under grey skies and with thunder echoing throughout the surrounding valley, the experienced Spaniard remained focused. Having ridden the second round of the UEM European Trial Championship during the previous day, many of the thirty-four championship riders had a good understanding of what to expect and used this to their advantage.
Just as on Saturday, when she also took the win, Laia's opening rides were faultless, passing through the first six hazards without incident. Her first and only mistake came at section seven where she dropped maximum marks. With light rain starting to fall, the previously grippy stone based sections became covered in a slippery film, which ultimately caught her out. Having been the last competitor to start and with the weather conditions worsening by the minute Laia raised her pace, passing a number of riders before finishing her first lap at the top of the results table.
Meanwhile compatriots Bristow and Cook became entangled in their own battle, as both riders matched each other at almost every section. Come the end of the first lap twenty-year old Bristow was on ten, leading third placed Cook by only a single mark. Making her return to the World stage after a two year absence, Donna Fox – Beta rode an impressive opening lap to record a total of just twelve marks. Determined not to make any further mistakes reigning champion Sanz showed just why she already has ten FIM World titles to her name, going on to close her second tour without a single dab and taking the victory in the process.
Whilst Laia was home and dry so to speak, Bristow and Cook continued to drop similar marks throughout their final lap. As the rain increased further so did Emma's pace. Despite dropping maximum marks in three sections on her final lap, Bristow was eager to finish before the hazards became too difficult. Cook on the other hand employed a different tactic, waiting for the bad weather to subside.
Pausing for over thirty minutes at the penultimate section of the day, Rebekah played a waiting game, hoping that the course would dry out. Unfortunately for her the rocks remained slippery and despite her best efforts she failed at the technical hazard. Although she went on to clean the final challenge of the day Cook finished in third place, four marks behind Bristow.
Despite Germany not suiting her preferred dry and dusty conditions, two consistent laps saw young pretender Sandra Gomez – Gas Gas finish just off the rostrum in fourth. Fox slipped one place from her first lap position and rounded out the top five after recording a score of twenty-five during her second tour.
The championship now heads west across the boarder into the Czech Republic for the second round of the series, which will take place next weekend.